3 Tips for Masterful Facebook Videos (Plus a Little More!)

If you’ve noticed lately, video has become a bigger and bigger feature on Facebook. That’s because video grabs your attention better than images and certainly better than text. Your Facebook videos don’t need to be long and expensive productions; in fact, they often do better when they aren’t.

So what makes a video great? Or shareable? It’s pretty simple really… there are three things you need to do:

1. Inspire Viewers

This is a great place to get your viewers excited about the great work that you do or about the need for the organization/campaign. Video is the greatest way to tell a story and create the emotional involvement needed to engage people in a real way. This is also a great opportunity to give some advice or to challenge people to do what they can in their lives and their communities.

Even better is if you can challenge them through the message itself, like Will Smith does in this short clip. (But you don’t need celebrity status to be successful at it.)

2. Educate Your Audience

People love to learn new things, especially when it’s something fun, interesting and there isn’t a quiz at the end. What matters is that the user is learning something in a simple and relatable way. Surely you’ve seen the recipe videos floating around on Facebook; if not, you should—they are awesome! These videos are a great example of educational content that nonprofits should be creating and posting.

Watch this and think about a few things as we drool over this tasty video. Even though there’s sound in the video, there’s no need for it, as most people don’t listen to the sound because they watch the auto-play on Facebook. It’s quick, easy to follow and entertaining, with great subject matter (and nonprofits have truckloads of great subject matter).

3. Be Entertaining

How-to-Capture-Facebook-Videos-1

First, the first two seconds of the video need to capture the viewer’s attention.

Second, you need to upload it to Facebook, not drop in a link from YouTube. Why? Because of auto-play. A video uploaded to Facebook will auto-play so that the viewer doesn’t need to do anything.

Third, and we can’t stress this enough, tell a story. Stories are the most powerful way to connect with people. Just check out this video from BuzzFeed. They just showed up at an event (probably asked permission first) and started shooting. It tells a story; it’s entertaining and inspiring; and it teaches us a simple lesson: “Don’t stand up your grandpa.”

That’s it. Just keep it simple: inspire your audience, educate them and don’t be boring. Most of all, have fun.

Bonus Tips

Create a playlist

Playlists are an easy way to group videos that have a theme. Viewers will often binge on playlists until they get bored or run out of videos. Once you’ve created a few great videos, string them together with a playlist.

Boost it

Boosting a video is an awesome and often cheap way to make a splash on Facebook. Keep your goals in mind though. Boosting a video is great for awareness, reach and engagement, not conversions. Image posts are better if you want people to click through.

Use 360 video

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Two things we can say for sure. Nearly 90% of all videos on Facebook are viewed on mobile, and fans love being a part of the action. 360 video covers both. It gives the viewer an immersive experience and is strictly for mobile devices. For this one, you’ll need to buy a special camera (they’re as low as $400 and coming down). The uploads are often very easy with little to no processing required. Imagine taking your fans on a walk through the community that you serve, through the forest that you protect, or to visit the animals that you’ve saved. Now that’s awesome.

Watch the data

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Facebook allows you to see when people stop watching the video. There will always be a drop at the beginning because people are just scrolling by. But pay attention to big drops later in the video. If viewers drop off in the first few seconds, then the video wasn’t catchy enough. If they drop later, they may have gotten bored, gotten the point of the video, or seen the ending to the story and didn’t feel the need to continue. One more reason to learn how to tell great stories.

9 Legendary Free Sources of Stunning Stock Photography

If your nonprofit wants to get noticed on Facebook, you’ll need the best images you can get your hands on. The all mighty image, is after all, still the king of Facebook.

In today’s Facebook environment, your posts only have a few seconds to grab your supporters’ attention and make them stop scrolling. Unforunately this means the different between a successful campaign and failure, could hinge on your use of imagery on Facebook.

Using sharp, high-resolution, beautiful images, can be one of the easiest, most powerful ways to accomplishing your goals on and off Facebook. Images of peoples’ faces are proven to be particularly effective 🙂

Below are nine of our favorite sources for free creative commons stock photography that you can use to win on Facebook.

Creative Commons

The Creative Commons website allows you to search for free, creative commons images, from 12+ different sources, all in one place! Search Flickr, Google images, Wikipedia and more.

Free Stock Photography

LibreShot

This source is great for unusual photos!

Free Stock Photography

UnSplash

One of our favorite sources. Great if you want high impact, artsy photos for featured images, backgrounds, quotes etc.

Free Stock Photography

Barn Images

Another one of our favorites! Has a few less options than UnSlpash, but will provide you with beautiful, clear, high res images every time.

Free Stock Photography

Death to Stock Photo

This image source is subscription based. Sign up for free on their homepage to start receiving Free photo packs each month in your inbox. The monthly packs always follow a theme and always include beautiful, very high-resolution images.

Free Stock Photography

Pablo

Pablo, from Buffer, makes it super easy to add text and quotes to any image. They provide ready to use stock photography, or allow you to upload your own image.

Free Stock Photography

FreeImages

Formerly known as StockExchange, this source can be a little corporate at times, but does have some great images to choose from.

Free Stock Photography

Visual Hunt

Visual Hunt is our newest favorite source for killer, engaging images! They have tons of free images on just about every subject you can imagine.

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Why your nonprofit needs a daily Facebook posting goal

Do you have a daily Facebook posting goal? If not, you should. Keeping a daily posting goal is one of the easiest ways to maintain consistent levels of organic reach and engagement on your Facebook page. It can also keep your supporters engaged with you and receiving your content in their news feeds!

Still, coming up with ideas for what to post can be difficult. Here, we’ll cover the best ways to keep a daily posting goal that can help you to maintain a healthy Facebook page and to accomplish your larger organizational goals.

Posting inconsistently can cause dramatic spikes and drops in your organic reach and engagement.

One of the things we hear the most often from nonprofits is the desire to maintain a consistent level of organic reach and engagement on Facebook. Many are tired of the extreme spikes and drops in their metrics and wish Facebook could be normalized when it comes to the reach and engagement earned each time they post. At the moment, it can feel like the roll of the dice which is the last thing anyone wants before posting a large, important campaign post!

To make matters worse, organic reach has been dropping for many Facebook page managers. Not only do they desire consistent reach and engagement, they want it to increase!

The good news is that keeping a daily posting goal can help normalize and improve the organic reach and engagement you earn on Facebook. Posting the same number of times each day (including on the weekends) gives you the same number of opportunities to earn organic reach and engagement each day. This helps to smooth out the spikes and drops experienced when posting inconsistently or missing days all together.

Consistent posting each day can also increase your organic reach and engagement over time as you’re giving your supporters more opportunities to see and engage with your content. The truth is that if you post on Facebook but your supporters are not online to see it, they likely will miss your post and will never get the chance to engage with it. Facebook moves so quickly that it’s likely to get buried – even more so if the last time you posted to your Facebook page was a number of days ago!

Therefore, posting consistently a few times a day opens up the number of opportunities you’ve given your supporters to engage with your cause. This, in turn, can increase and normalize your organic reach and engagement.

Posting inconsistently can decrease your number of active, engaged supporters.

Not only can we increase and maintain our organic reach and engagement by posting consistently, we can also retain our most active, engaged supporters on Facebook. Building on the first point we covered, you can begin to lose active supporters on Facebook if you don’t give them enough opportunities to see your content and engage with it.

With the way the Facebook algorithm currently works, a supporter who hasn’t engaged with your page’s content in some time will slowly stop receiving your posts all together. Why is this the case? Facebook uses a number of behavioral triggers to decide which of your supporters receives which of your posts in their news feed. One of the behavioral triggers is post engagement. If they haven’t engaged with your page in a long time, Facebook takes this as a sign that they are no longer interested in your page and it’s content.

The problem is, posting inconsistently can falsely cause this to happen. Your supporters aren’t necessarily any less interested in your cause, they just haven’t received any of your content because the few times a week your page posted, they missed it.

Therefore, posting consistently a few times a day increases the likelihood of your supporters receiving at least one of your posts and engaging with it. This keeps them engaged each day and receiving your content on their news feed.

Posting consistently can increase the success of your top campaigns!

Too many organizations make the mistake of only posting when they have a campaign to share on Facebook. The problem is, as we saw above, this leaves too much time for your supporters to become disengaged and stop receiving your posts, especially if a number of days or weeks has gone by without a single new post on your Facebook page!

The way Facebook currently works, it’s really important to keep posting consistently and keeping people engaged in between your larger campaigns. Doing this ensures that there are still engaged supporters left when you share your donation appeal or petition asking for signatures.

There is also a second principle at play here. Supporters who follow you on Facebook expect to receive valuable content in their news feeds. That’s the number one reason they are following you! If you fail to give them this assumed value, they may not be very forth coming when you ask for help with your next campaign. Think about it, if an organization only asked you for help or money while never giving you any value in return, you’d start to feel less positive about that organization.

We call the mix of this content “The Cheese and Broccoli Rule.” While kids don’t want to eat broccoli by itself, if you add cheese, they start to like it a lot more. Similarly, if you’re not posting fun content of value, in other words, the cheese, your supporters are much less likely to take the broccoli, which is your important campaigns.

Wrap up

As you can see, posting consistently each day on Facebook can have a huge impact on the health and success of your Facebook page overall. Simply setting a daily posting goal can ensure that your supporters are engaged and ready when you have an important campaign to share. It can also retain and further grow your relationships with already engaged, passionate supporters in your cause.

While you don’t need any special tools to set a daily posting goal, ActionSprout does include a built in daily goal tracker. This can be an easy way to stay on top of your goal if your organization has an ActionSprout account.

October: Giving Tuesday Strategy

This guide is part of a series of guides designed to get your nonprofit ready for #GivingTuesday. If you haven’t read the first few guides in the series we strongly suggest you start there as the following guide will make more sense.

We’ve come a long way since June! To quickly recap our progress we’ve:

  1. Developed and implemented a content curation strategy
  2. Learned what to look for to measure the success of our posts
  3. Discovered how putting as little as $5 a day into Facebook ads can lead to big results
  4. Started engaging supporters on a deeper level with social actions

Hopefully all four of those wheels are still spinning. By now your Facebook page should be almost ready for your big #GivingTuesday campaign. This month, we’ll take a look at what we learned from playing with social actions last month, and combine it with donation best practices to create killer messaging around your #GivingTuesday campaign.

Learning from social actions

Analyzing the successes and failures of our social actions may feel a lot like the content analysis we covered back in July. Once again, we’ll be taking a look at social actions through the lense of the ActionSprout app, but the things we’ll cover apply to any action platform you use.

What metrics to look at

The three top metrics you’ll want to look at are:

  1. Engagement (Likes, comments, shares)
  2. Views
  3. Completion rate

action metrics

We’ll compare these metrics to each other to determine what parts of your flow are working (Facebook post, form, completion), and what’s not. This will help you pinpoint your weak spots and give you a chance to strengthen them before next month.

Scenario #1: Post engagement is higher than form views

You’re on the right track! Your post is doing its job (mostly).

You now know the subject, tone and format were correct because it caught people’s eyes, made them stop scrolling, and engaged them to the point where they felt compelled to leave a reaction, comment, or share. That was a tall order in and of itself!

The problem is, comparing this post engagement to your low number of form views tells us the post didn’t do a good enough job getting supporters to click.

There are two main possible reasons for this:

Unclear or missing call to action:

  1. Was it clear to supporters that they needed to click on the post and take some form of action?
  2. Was the language of your call to action clear?
  3. Did you have a call to action on the post at all?

Unconvincing / non-urgent call to action:

  1. Your call to action might have been clear and present, but was it urgent or convincing enough?
  2. Does your data show that supporters were interested in the topic, but they didn’t feel compelled to act?
  3. Can we make this stronger?

Scenario #2: Post engagement and views are about equal but conversion rate is low

Your post is rockin it! Not only did it make folks stop scrolling and pay attention, you compelled them to engage and investigate taking greater action by viewing your form. The problem is, very few of these folks actually went ahead and completed the action. You lead the horse to water but it didn’t drink.

What happened?

The form didn’t deliver what they expected

Make sure there isn’t a mis-match in what the post promised and what the form delivered. This mis-match is commonly called “click baiting.” It’s the practice of overselling or mis-communicating what the form will be once they land on it. Make sure your messaging and call to action are consistent between the post and the form.

The form messaging failed to move them to complete the action

The form itself wasn’t compelling enough. The petition language was weak, the final call to action was lackluster, or the pieces as a whole just didn’t come together. It’s important to keep your language strong throughout the process!

The form was confusing

Once supporters got to your form they became confused. The call to action no longer made sense. Did one call to action turn into multiple? Did sign the petition turn into sign and attend the event? Did the messaging around the call to action confuse the core ask?

The form was not mobile optimized

This one is the most painful! Your supporters wanted to complete the action but couldn’t because your form wasn’t mobile friendly! A super easy way to check this is simply bring the form up on your own phone. It’s also a good idea to ask a few colleagues to pull it up to double check different types of devices.

Scenario #3: Conversion rate is high but post engagement is low

Now, this may or may not be an issue you need to fix. Sometimes causes and particular supporters just don’t translate to high post engagement. They’re completing the action so the main goal is being accomplished!

However, we also don’t want to leave value on the table. Lower post engagement is an indication that the post could be stronger and pointing even more people to your form.

A few things to look at:

Does your post have a strong call to action?

  1. Looking at your post, would you know you needed to click and complete the form?
  2. Is it clear what is being asked and why?
  3. Is your call to action urgent and reasonable?

Is your image attention grabbing?

1.Would your image make you stop scrolling through Facebook? 2.Does it grab attention and make you want to engage? 3.Have you tried testing different images?

Combine these lessons with fundraising best practices

Hopefully you’ve now isolated some weak spots and found areas to improve upon. Now let’s take all that and rollin some fundraising best practices. There are a four main principles you’ll want to roll into your #GivingTuesday campaign. Donate for change

Your supporters, no matter how loyal they are to your organization, are really donating to effect change on an issue they care about. Ask them to donate to the cause, not your particular organization.

“Chip in”

It’s been shown in some nonprofits tests that using the word ‘donate’ actually reduces donations. Try something like ‘chip in’ or ‘pitch in’.

Set a goal

Set targets for donations and outcomes achieved. Targets put your campaign in perspective. No matter how much or little someone gives, they know they are chipping away at the set goal. They can easily see that their donation had an impact.

Directed

It helps if the donation appeal is directed at a specific goal, e.g. keeping open a children’s hospital, saving a local park, passing legislation, etc.

Wrap up

That was a long one! Be sure to take the time this month to go back through your social actions from last month, learn what you can and combine that with the outlined fundraising best practices. This should leave you with a killer donation ask for #GivingTuesday.

Next month’s post will be a recap and checklist of all the material we’ve covered up to this point.